For those who are struggling with substance abuse and addictions, we first target urges and cravings that lead to relapse. Once these are "quieted", we can begin the work of identifying and targeting the triggers, which are often based in unresolved trauma, which lead to the urges, cravings, and relapse.
In addition to traditional office based counseling, we also utilize evidence-based practices such as EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), Equine-focused EMDR, and Equine-assisted counseling involving interacting with horses, all of which serve to quickly access, activate, and accelerate the brain's ability to adaptively reprocess dysfunctionally stored traumatic memories.
Types of Trauma...
Little "t" traumas can be anything from having a continual string of confusing and chaotic situations occur, where the ability to work through and find solutions was not possible for any number of reasons, to a specific situation that was extremely distressing and has left you feeling "stuck", unable to sleep, unable to enjoy things you previously enjoyed, anxious "out of the blue", or you find your self ruminating about how you could have handled it differently.
Big "T" traumas are those situations that were either life threatening or negatively life altering (ex: abuse, death or loss of a loved one, assault, experiencing or witnessing a severely distressing event, etc.). The big "T" traumas are easier to identify, but often people want to avoid talking about them because the symptoms that can be triggered are so debilitating. Little 't' traumas are often dismissed because sometimes people don't want to give them attention because they seem so "little" or "petty", however over time, their effects can add up and can affect us in ways similar to big "T" traumas.
Sometimes unresolved trauma can be from events that occurred when a person was at a pre-verbal stage of development and so they may have a difficult time describing or expressing disturbing or distressing symptoms. These can be particularly "crazy-making" as there are literally no words to describe how one is feeling, only that there is a sense that something is terribly wrong or uncomfortable when they become triggered.
Once the emotional charge is resolved, we provide the sacred space for clients to talk through, review, and rewrite their trauma story, so that they are able to find the "gold in the wound." We find that this also allows clients to build resiliency to future stresses and traumatic situations, so that they are able to more easily work through those situations without becoming stuck in the symptoms.
© 2007-2016 Renee Miller, PsyD, LMFT, Inc 18023 Sky Park Circle Ste G Irvine, Ca 92614